Monday, March 2, 2009

DIY ColdHeat-like Soldering Tweezers

Ever tried one of those fancy "Cold-Heat" soldering iron replacements?
I did, and i really liked my Cold-Heat Classic after i got used to it, but then it's cheap crappy electronics died.
Since it's quite limited when it comes to soldering small parts, i tried to find a better solution.

The result is pretty similar to this thingie (read first),
except that i've picked up his idea of building tweezers to be able to adjust the spacing of the leads.
It's quite a failure, but building it was fun.

I just twisted .5 mm² wire end sleeves using pliers until they firmly held .7 mm leads, then soldered them onto old steel tweezers, isolated the halves from each other and applied 5V from an old computer power supply to it. Be aware that this will draw around 8 A, so use thick wires. It's actually a bit too powerful, which is why you have to be quite fast if you don't want to burn all the flux before your soldering connection is nicely set (see the video). Also, make sure that the leads can't touch each other, if they do they will just burn up without sufficiently heating the tin.

video

UPDATE: Don't try to solder SMD parts using this. Crap.
UPDATE2: Using a current source would definitely work much better given that the lead's resistance falls with temperature, but that's far too much effort for my taste.

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